Why Does Every Child Get a Trophy?


Welcome to our new blog! 

My name is Kim Barger and my husband and I founded Strength of Life Counseling Services in 2003. I have been counseling families and children for 26 years. I have been married for 24 years and we have three sons. Our oldest is Taylor who is 23 and he is married, Austin is 19 and attends Washington State University and our youngest is Logan, 17, who is a full time running start student and is living at home.

That is just a little bit about my family - I am sure you will get to know all of us very well as I continue to share my experiences. Being a wife, a mom, and a counselor has played a tremendous role in the person I am today, and I am excited to share my journey with you as we encourage one another and face life's challenges together.  

I have decided to spend some time talking to those who will read about a subject I am passionate about – parenting.


I see a very scary trend in advice given to our young families. The trend is to “keep our children from feeling bad feelings.” Why? What is the motivation behind “everybody gets a trophy?" Is it so every child feels good? Will it help their self-esteem? I wonder why so many have taken the bait.

I’m thinking the motivation and the goal is to raise happy, healthy children. This will not raise happy, healthy children. Let me explain why I feel so strongly about this. One of the hardest things we as parents do is to teach our children to respond appropriately to the word no. When our children are young we teach them boundaries by setting limits in so many areas. We are, if you will, their external boundary and if we do our job well, these boundaries will become internal, and when they get older you will see those limits or boundaries become internal! It’s a beautiful thing to watch your child say no to himself for all the right reasons. Saying NO to oneself is a true sign of maturity.


Every child is not great at everything.

So let's get back to this whole philosophy of “every child gets a trophy.” It’s a lie, not every child did well at all. Maybe basketball or football is not their gift? So by giving them a trophy, we are saying “you're good at everything.” We are not good at everything. Actually children need to experience disappointment and bad feelings; it helps them learn how to manage negative  feelings. To insulate our children from experiencing bad feelings is to set them up for failure. These are my thoughts, let me know what you think? Can you share an experience where bad feelings actually encouraged maturity in your children? Thanks for reading!